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Alexandra’s last voyage

Rye’s bonfire is tomorrow. We drove past this afternoon as they were building it. It’s traditional to include a boat on the pile (though they usually don’t — even a scruffy old boat is worth something).

I got curious about this one and searched its registration: RX87.

It is a very photographed boat, mostly in recent years picturesquely dilapidating on the shore. Her name is Alexandra. According to this Flickr account “She is the Alexandra was registered RX87. She was built in 1958 at Whitstable for a Rye fisherman then went to Hastings where she ended her days.”

Her working days, that must be. She seems to have ended her days on land on Rye Harbour Road, and she will truly be ending them tomorrow night in flames on the salt flats in front of Rye.

Here she is halfway between then and now, looking scruffy but jaunty in a boat race in 1988. There are only a few scraps of blue paint on her today, but she is red in the oldest photos.

Google offered a glimpse of her in a book called The Coast Road, a 3,000 mile journey round the edge of England, published in 2004.

Maggie points out of the window to a man in a red baseball cap walking the beach. ‘That’s Peter White. He was a fisherman. Until three months back. He was the last to give up.’

Old habits die hard. Peter White is pacing the shore, looking to sea one moment, down at his feet the next, and then across to the small beached, red fishing smack, RX 87, that he owned for most of his working life.

I probably should have read a bit more, but I didn’t. I wonder if that was his real name and if he’ll be there at the end tomorrow. There’s an 85% chance of rain but that won’t stop them.

Good weekend, all!

November 9, 2018 — 8:55 pm
Comments: 9

Happy Fourth!

Uncle B’s put a bottle of champagne on ice to celebrate. Shhhhh…don’t tell him that’s not a Fourth of July thing. I really like champagne.

After a fourteen hour fast, it turns out my bloodletting appointment is actually next week. So I get to do it again next Tuesday night. Yay me!

I don’t care. I have champagne. Have an excellent Fourth, y’all!

July 4, 2018 — 8:28 pm
Comments: 11

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you’ve had a splendid holiday weekend. Let me tell you about our Sunday.

We went to a fundraiser for a cat sanctuary. Eventually.

We got grievously lost. We’d been to this place before, but Uncle B was unsure of the last few miles and asked me to put the postcode into the satnav. Somehow, it was the wrong postcode entirely.

Forty minute trip took us two and a half hours, mostly up country lanes. Country lanes. Hereabouts, they often aren’t wide enough for two cars to pass (sometimes barely wide enough for one car to squeeze through), with thorn hedges on either side, blind bends and crazy farmers (and livestock) roaring up the other way.

The picture is from a Daily Mail article about a Polish truck driver who got stuck in a lane in Devon, but you get the general idea. This is not a fun driving experience. There is often a lot of backing up involved.

So we were late. There were no more plants at the plant stall or cakes at the cake stall and the cats were all hot, tired and sick of visitors. I got hissed at a lot.

To cheer ourselves up, we stopped at Waitrose on the way home to buy some treats. As Uncle B put our loot in the back of the car, the keys fell out of his pocket just as the hatched closed and the whole car automatically locked itself up tight.

Hour and a half for a service call. Luckily, our man managed to get it open without breaking anything.

Half an hour later, we rolled up on a little town just as a policeman put out the ROAD CLOSED sign. They do that when there’s the slightest accident: close the roads both ways. So it was back onto country lanes, but this time jammed solid with all the detoured traffic in both directions.

Magic.

We got home eventually, and luckily our Saturday and Monday were pretty awesome. We’re about to go sit in the garden, burn things and drink wine.

How was yours?

May 28, 2018 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 6

It’s a ratty, ratty, ratty world

Happy World Rat Day! No, really. Rattophobes (AKA musophobes, murophobes or suriphobes), turn away now.

I was born in the Year of the Rat, and I’ve always had a soft spot for rodents. In isolation — I mean, not living in the walls and peeing on your cornflakes — they are nice, clean and friendly little beasties.

I got quite interested in fancy mouse breeding in my twenties, until it was driven home to me that culling is an important part of the hobby. Not really into crushing babbies, me.

Still, I learned enough about rodent husbandry that I was quite excited to come to London. One of our first dates, I made Uncle B take me to the London and Southern Counties Rat and Mouse Club, the oldest fancy rat club in the world.

We went to a rat and mouse show. And he married me anyway.

The hobby owes its origins to Jack Black, Queen Victoria’s rat catcher. Whenever he trapped an unusual-looking rat, he spared its life and bred it. A hundred and umpty years later, and the number of recognized varieties of fancy rat is astonishing.

Though I’ve kept many mice as pets over the years, I’ve never kept a rat. They are smart and friendly (and large) enough to capture your affection like a proper pet, but they don’t live long. And they tend to die horribly.

Anyway. Not sure how you celebrate World Rat Day. Eat a peanut butter sandwich and shit on the counter?

April 4, 2018 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 15

Happy December!

advent

‘Tis the month of Christmas. Yes, we do that. It helps to have an advent calendar.

This one’s mine — Uncle B bought me the Lindt one.

For the record, today was no improvement over yesterday. It HAMMERED down with rain this morning. It was like biking in through a shower of freezing cold needles. Then I had a doctor’s appointment (diagnosis: plantar fasciitis), an accountant appointment and I had to buy chicken food.

But behind Door #1 was a tiny Lindt bunny. All is right with the world.

Have a good weekend, all!

December 1, 2017 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 10

Happy T’day!

turkeyanim

Happy Thanksgiving! Also the ninth anniversary of my permanent move to the UK. (The actual date was the 22nd, I think, but it was Thanksgiving 2008).

Hope you all have a good’un and make complete pigs of yourselves, and don’t forget the MST3K Turkey Day Day Marathon!

Not to mention tomorrow’s new Dead Pool, queued up and ready to go!

November 23, 2017 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 10

Boo!

halloween

Happy Hallowe’en! They don’t really do this one here, or at least they haven’t until recently. Not even any scary movies on TV.

I love a good ghost story. I don’t even know why. I’m as psychic as a potato.

I live in a 400 year old house, I go to a 600 year old church and I handle ancient parchments all day and nary a spooky feeling or an aura or an orb or nothing. The only time I’ve ever gotten the willies was in the woods back home, and I’m sure our species is wired to get the willies in the woods sometimes.

Any spooky movie recommendations? We don’t have Netflix, but we have Amazon Prime. And YouTube, of course.

October 31, 2017 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 18

Hells YES we celebrate the Fourth in this house

And the Queen’s birthday and Squirrel Appreciation Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day. If there’s a celebration — particularly one that involves food, booze or fireworks — I’m yer weasel. (Image pinched from previous Fourth).

Just occurred to me. If I get my act together this year, this might be the last Fourth of July I ain’t British. OH NOES!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

July 4, 2017 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 13

I found a loophole, said Weasel!

twee

Our Christmas tree. Yeah, it always looks lame in black and white, but I give it a try every year. Trust me, it was lovely.

I know some people take the tree down the minute Christmas is over, but that’s definitely not us. We usually aim for Twelfth Night, because it’s traditional and we’re like that, but January 5th (or is it the 6th?) just seemed too soon. The tree was still lovely, hadn’t dropped a needle, and we weren’t quite ready to wave g’bye to Christmas.

But the other traditional day is Candlemas (did I mention we’re traditional?). But that’s February 2nd, and that just seemed way too long, even for big crybabies like us.

Then I found a loophole – Old Twelvey Night! This is where Twelfth Night fell before adoption of the Gregorian Calendar and some hearty Brits still observe it. Because pff – that was just, like, 1582.

I love these people.

It’s tonight — the 17th of January. We’re going to take our tree down and do it right. Bottle of fizz, a nice steak dinner. I’m not going in in the morning so we can sleep in. Try to hold onto the true meaning of Old Twelvey Night. Which is steak and champagne, I guess. I don’t know. You can just make this shit up if you want.

Wishing you a very merry Old Twelvey Night, from our household to yours!

January 17, 2017 — 8:57 pm
Comments: 11

Turkeys: the paste-eating mouth breathers of the poultry world

turkeys

I stole this picture from National Geographic. At first, I couldn’t work out what it was. Some sort of two-headed conjoined twin turkey maybe. But no, it’s just a pair of Meleagris gallopavo being they own brilliant selfs.

I’ll be honest with you — I think our turkey this year had a leeeetle too much fresh air and healthful exercise. She was tough-ish. More indolence and lounging around the barn for the next one, I think.

Anyway, I’ve boiled down the carcass and made a pie for tonight. A bit of soup tomorrow, and that’s the bird done.

On to the ham!

December 28, 2016 — 11:07 pm
Comments: 14